Networking and Electronics

Summer 2015

In summer of 2015 I installed a large home network for a client of my father’s construction company, Hazelgrove Services Ltd, working as a subcontractor.

 

The network was fairly simple in it’s design, but challenging in implementation, as it wasn’t a new build.

Networking characteristics:

  • Central managed TP-Link switch, placed in habitable loft bedroom. All cables run here
  • Bonded ADSL system, with two broadband phone lines being ran to the rack. Client isn’t eligible for fibre so this is best system to give ~10mbps internet connection
  • Ubiquiti Unify managed WI-FI access points
  • Server to be located in clients lounge. Client uses this computer as a media centre. Cannot locate in bedroom loft as PC fans are too loud
  • Cinema room in converted detached garage. CAT-6 FTP duct-grade cable ran underground to this location, small switch in cinema to connect multimedia devices and provide WI-FI
  • Plex home media system running on server in lounge. Also runs Ubiquiti management system
  • Single CAT6 cable ran from cinema switch to home office, providing wireless connectivity for office computer and mobile devices. Discussed having separate network for home/office but client wasn’t concerned regarding security as the whole system is internal to the property and behind a firewall
  • 4x CAT5e cables ran to lounge from rack in loft for future installations/LACP.

(Completed networking rack - Annotated)

 

Summer 2014

I was asked to design and install specialist RGB LED lighting for a high net-worth client. The 12v lighting system was controlled by a central 2-pair DALI (Digital Addressable Lighting Interface) bus, which is an industry lighting standard, similar to the DMX system used in professional theater. The whole house was controlled using Loxone home automation, which provided the DALI bus. The DALI bus system is nice because it can be wired in both star and bus form.  The system was installed all over the property. For each lighting ‘zone’ a switched 12v supply along with the DALI bus signal was required. In some locations, it was favorable to run 240v and then step-down this signal locally, to avoid voltage drop. I worked with a team of electricians to complete this task: the electricians installed the mains equipment and I ran cables, designed and installed the low voltage section of the system.

The general flow of ‘switching on a zone’ would be as follows: user selects zone to light>Loxone system switches on power supply for zone>signal sent to DALI RGB dimmer pack>Light turns on.

The system could have been implemented just using the DALI signal, but we preferred to have the power supplies switched as well, to reduce residual energy consumption.

 

Here are some images of the system I installed:

20140804_152240Above: Small panel in construction. Switching power supplies (silver) to supply 12vDC to each zone. These are switched by the Loxone home automation controllers. DALI dimmers (small white devices) then feed R G B +12v to each light fitting (typically RGB strip lighting).

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Above: Control and power systems for external RGB lighting. Here, two 350w, 12VDC power supplies feed a DALI dimmer and 3x RGB signal boosters. As there was an unavoidable long run of continuous RGB strip light, each RGB booster was wired as a 3 to 1 channel booster. The R G B +12v signal for the strip lighting is run underground in ducted low resistance cable, to each light fitting. (Note: The twin and earth cable supplying 12VDC to the RGB boosters was installed temporarily for testing. It was later replaced with 2-core flex).

 

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Above: Final install of RGB LED lighting in the bar area of the house. 3 separate circuits in this zone: one for the lighting above the cupboard units, one for under and one for under the lip of the bar top. The control system gives the user the option of synchronizing these zones, so they all display the same colour, or having them lit separately.

 

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Above: Another view of the bar area, demonstrating the 3 lighting circuits operating together as one virtual circuit.

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